In a sport filled with strong opinion nothing can strike up a conversation filled with differing views and thoughts more than the plain old fin. Fins have experienced a great evolution over the years involving materials, blade design, foot pockets and straps. Literally nothing about the fin has not been touched at one time or another in the manufacturer’s efforts to find that slight advantage over their peers. With most items, when the “next best” is introduced or the next ground breaking innovation is thought up, the older style of design of the item fades into history except for a few stalwarts who refuse to acknowledge progress. The fin seems to be an exception to this rule. With very little effort a diver can still find just about any style or type of fin they want dating all the way back to versions first introduced in the 60’s! On any given day if you took a seat at your local popular diving site and just watched divers walk by you’d easily see what ever fin is new and exciting, but at the same time you’d see almost a walking museum of fin technology. People are still in love with their vented rubber fins, full bladed rubber fins, or solid plastic fins. Fins with a split right down the middle that you’d swear must be damaged or even fins that look like a fish’s tail. A person could expect to see fins made of a combination of materials from plastic, to rubber to silicone based materials. Technology that was new and exciting in the 60’s went into the manufacturing of many of the pieces of equipment the diver is about to strap to their feet.
Why, one might ask? That opens up an entire can of worms! Because people are different. In the end there is no correct answer. One person’s justification for the love of their old vented rubber fins can easily be another diver’s reason for loving a split fin. The stiffness of a plastic bladed fin and how it feels on your legs when you work underwater is frequently the exact same thing another diver has to say about the fin made of multiple materials with channels down the blade. There may never be a final answer to the debate on fins but then again why should there be? As long as the diver is happy with their choice, and is enjoying what they experience underwater, then that’s all that will matter.